Portrait of William Walwyn

William Walwyn

1600 – 1681

William Walwyn (1600-1681) was one of the leading Leveller pamphleteers and activists during the 1640s.

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Walwyn was apprenticed to a London silk merchant and became a fairly prosperous member of the Merchant Adventurers' Company. Walwym wrote many pamphlets in favour of religious toleration before turning to more political topics such as “The Agreement of the People” in 1647. He was imprisoned along with other Leveller leaders in 1649. Whereas Lilburne was a firebrand who based much of his argument on English legal precedent and the Magna Carta, Walwyn based his arguments on a more general understanding of natural law and reason. He was also a very witty and and clever writer who used satire to great effect. In the 1650s his interests turned to medicine and he became an apothecary.

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